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Many vote on names of pandas for Taiwan
By Wu Chong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-06 05:22

Panda naming has become the latest voting craze among the nation's netizens.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan meaning reunion are proving to be the most popular nicknames for the pair of pandas earmarked as a mainland gift to the Taiwan people.

Gege, female and born in August 2003, is one of the 17 candidates qualified as gift to be sent to Taiwan people. Gege is shy, like to be alone. [newsphoto]

Nearly 2,800 voters from the 39,142 who took part in a poll by Sina.com.cn, one of China's major portal websites, wanted the names by 6 pm yesterday.

The monikers had also won a majority of supporters in similar surveys conducted by various newspapers based in Chengdu capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Provicne where the pandas hail from.

Sina.com.cn had registered 15,533 nicknames for the pandas. And Chengdu Evening News said they had received more than 2,000.

Other popular nicknames also include He He, Ping Ping (meaning peace); Lu Lu, Wan Wan (meaning Chinese mainland and Taiwan) and Huan Huan, Le Le (meaning happiness).

Wei Xing, a technician with Sina.com.cn, was the first to fill in the website's survey form. He gave the names of Ai Ai and Guo Guo, meaning "patriotism." "Because they sound pleasant and symbolize the country's reunion," he said.

"People aged above 30, especially the elderly aged between 50 and 70 are most enthusiastic," said Zhang Yingsha from Chengdu Evening News.

The surging enthusiasm nationwide was provoked last Thursday by Chinese media after the State authorities expressed their wish to have public involvement in naming the pandas.

According to the State Forestry Administration, the pandas' names will come from the Taiwan side, while the nicknames will be given by the Chinese mainland.

The latest statistics from Sina.com.cn show netizens from Beijing, Guangdong and Shandong account for the majority of the voters.

Meanwhile, 400 people from Taiwan also participated in the online campaign by 3:30 pm yesterday.

"We plan to launch similar surveys on our websites in Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America and ask for more suggestions," said Liang Chunyuan, a chief editor of Sina.com.cn's news centre.

He said the collection would continue until there are enough to make a final decision. All the survey results will be handed over to the China Wildlife Conservation Association, which has the final decision.

(China Daily 06/06/2005 page2)

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